Staff Member Profiles

Jo Podoliak

Chief Executive

Jo was appointed her role as Chief Executive of Regional Development Australia Murraylands and Riverland in July 2015. Jo brings extensive experience from both the public and private sector from within the state and nationally along with significant leadership skills and strong commercial acumen.

Jo’s previous experience in a range of Board and Executive roles including for the South Australian Tourism Commission and Coca-Cola Amatil, gives her extensive knowledge and understanding which will be an invaluable asset to the Murraylands and Riverland regions. Jo is eager to work with the businesses, stakeholders, team members and the Board to capitalise on the countless opportunities that exist in continuing the positive growth of our diverse region.


Jarrod Bielby

Regional Development Manager
Logistics and Infrastructure

Jarrod recently joined the RDA team in February 2017, taking on the role of Regional Development Manager for Logistics and Infrastructure and is based in our Murray Bridge office.

With a strong work history in banking and finance, both personal and business banking, real estate, management and sales, Jarrod is well placed to provide a high level of support and advice to regional businesses and industry.

Jarrod has a wealth of experience in helping established businesses that are wanting to grow, in addition to having a keen passion for and strength with assisting start-up and small businesses. 

Jarrod is excited to be working with RDAMR and looks forward to assisting businesses to bring about sustainable initiatives that deliver positive and transformative change in the region.



Bruce Mellett

Regional Development Manager 

Bruce started with RDAMR in October 2016 as Regional Development Manager – Capability. Bruce brings more than 30 years of media and leadership experience, having previously been the long serving Regional Manager with the ABC in the Riverland and before that stints in newspapers, commercial  radio and TV. 

Bruce has extensive community involvement within the Riverland and Mallee region and is currently an Australia Day Ambassador for South Australia. He has won national awards for innovation and mentoring, SA awards for community involvement and has long associations with schools, service and sporting clubs in the region.

Bruce is excited about his role at RDA and working closely with the Riverland community to bring about positive long term benefits. He and his family enjoy the region’s lifestyle, own a small vineyard and love all the Riverland has to offer.

Vanessa Liebelt

Regional Development Manager
Innovation and Growth

Vanessa joined the RDA team in April 2016 and has now taken on the position of Regional Development Manager for Innovation and Growth and is based in our Murray Bridge office. Vanessa comes from a family business background operating her own small business with her husband for 10 years, contracting to a number of businesses and Indigenous organisations, assisting with strategic planning and implementation, business development and skills training.

With a Diploma in International Business and International Trade, Vanessa has previously lived in rural SA and worked overseas in a number of consulting roles. 

Vanessa is excited about her role with RDAMR to be able to provide business and industries sound and practical assistance to capitalise on the wealth of opportunities this region has.



Sandy Iosefellis

Regional Development Manager 
Value Added Agriculture and Services

Sandy joined RDAMR in January 2017, taking on the role of Regional Development Manager for Value Added Agriculture and Services.

As a business owner and manager Sandy brings experience across the private and government funded sectors in the wine, horticulture, tourism, hospitality, and social service industries. A partner in local horticulture property, Autumn Fruits, Sandy is well versed in the range of challenges and issues facing our region.

With experience with the South Australian River Murray Sustainability Irrigation Industry Improvement Program in addition to the Adelaide University Australian eChallenge Agrifood & Wine, Sandy has a wealth of knowledge and a passion for developing innovative solutions for businesses and the region.

Sandy is keen to focus on innovations and solutions that add value for the regions food producers in new market spaces, collaborative models, and new technologies. She is a regional advocate and values the diverse opportunities for farming businesses and lifestyle our regions offer. 

Julie Bates

Tourism Development Manager
Murray River, Lakes and Coorong

Julie commenced with the RDA in May 2016 and is responsible for the overall growth of tourism in the Murray River, Lakes & Coorong region, including marketing, destination development and strategic direction for the tourism industry.

Julie’s previous experience in Management roles has included the South Australian Tourism Commission, School & Beyond, Majestic Apartments and Bridge Aluminium.  Julie’s experience includes not only tourism, but community engagement, a strong business background and local government understanding.  

Julie is passionate about the tourism industry and is excited to be back working to grow the industry and representing the Murray River, Lakes & Coorong region to the world.

Living locally at Monarto, Julie and her family enjoy the Murraylands lifestyle and are actively involved in the community.

Melissa Taylor

NDIS Workforce Project Manager

Melissa is our Disability Workforce Hub Project Manager and brings to the role a range of qualifications and experience in Mental Health, Case Management and Management in addition to a strong humanitarian focus.

Having worked primarily within the Community Services Sector for the past 14 years across Disability, Mental Health, Drug and Alcohol and Youth Residential settings, Melissa has a strong passion for working within Human Services and improving individuals quality of life.

Melissa looks forward to working collaboratively with the Community, Service Providers and Stakeholders to up-skill our workforce, facilitate employment pathways and workforce development and maximise the economic benefit our region can gain from the roll out of the NDIS; whilst simultaneously improving access to services to people with a disability.

Donna Beech

Marketing and Communication Manager

Donna joined the RDA in October 2015 to assist with the research, planning and implementation of various projects and initiatives.

With a Bachelor’s Degree in Management Marketing, Donna has previously worked in a range of diverse marketing and communications roles in a number of industries, including electrical, communications, retail and wine. Her diverse background ensures she has a range of knowledge and skills able to assist the RDA to achieve their goals. 

Having returned to the Riverland after 16 years in Adelaide, Donna loves the lifestyle and opportunities now available in the region. 

Sheryl Caston

Executive Assistant to the CEO

Sheryl commenced in July 2016 as the Executive Assistant to the CEO. With a passion for the environment, biodiversity and businesses involved in farming and production, Sheryl is keen to support RDAMR build business growth and sustainability in the region. She is also keen to see further training and career development opportunities for the next generation to continue on a productive employment pathway.

A dedicated professional, Sheryl enjoys helping people achieve their goals. With extensive experience in Administration, having worked for many years both in private industry and local government roles, her aim is to build strong relationships with the RDAMR Board, staff and collaborators in the region.

Having grown-up in the Adelaide Hills, Sheryl has fond memories of a childhood filled with many visits to the Murraylands and Riverland for fishing and camping with her family. 

Kathy Stringer

Kathy Stringer - Finance & Business Support

Finance & Business Support

Kathy commenced with the RDA in September 2015 in the role of Finance and Business support, and brings with her over 30 years of combined experience in administration roles, 20 of those within the farming and agribusiness sector.

Kathy is excited to be a part of the RDA team to utilise her broad knowledge of book-keeping, whilst contributing to the efficiencies of the finance department.

Having lived in Murray Bridge all of her life, Kathy has a keen interest and passion for the local community and looks forward to working with RDA to build a better and brighter future.

Sonia Hein

Business Support

Sonia joined RDAMR in November 2016 in the role of Business Support for the Murraylands Office. Having originally gained her grounding in business with a 12 month traineeship with RDAMR in 2012, Sonia left to seek further education opportunities and has returned to us 5 years later having achieved a Certificate 3 in Business, a Diploma in Animal Technology and an Undergraduate Introduction to Marketing.

Whilst studying Sonia worked locally gaining further administration, IT and finance skills and implementing various projects throughout the region; including the 2015/16 Murraylands Careers Expo.

Having lived locally in Murray Bridge her entire life, Sonia believes her passion and knowledge of the region are key to being part of the RDAMR team where she aims to assist in the region’s development and prosperity.

Shaun Harris

Employment and Training Project Manager

Commencing in August 2016, Shaun is the Project Support for Employment and Training and Career Adviser for the Career Development Centre in the Murraylands. 

Having lived in the Torrens Valley area for over 23 years with his wife and three children, Shaun is actively involved in the community and shares a passion for the Murraylands region.

Starting his career as an apprentice in the printing industry and working his way into management, Shaun also has experience in business, starting his own successful café and catering business. Having completed a Bachelor of Social Work, he has been fortunate to work with Aboriginal Communities on the APY lands for the SANFL

Shaun is excited about the opportunity to foster community development and be involved in initiatives that will provide positive results for community members and the region.

Rachel Thiele

Career Development Services, Project Manager

Rachel is a qualified Career Development Practitioner and has undertaken a Vocational Graduate Certificate in Career Development Practice, Certificate IV in Career Development, Front Line Management and Training & Assessment.

Rachel grew up on a Farm just outside of Loxton and believes in the importance of working with the local community to develop areas of need in both Employment and Training. Rachel is familiar with the Riverland Regions training trends and one of her key focuses is advocating for clients in order to have their skills formally recognised through either Recognised Prior Learning process or other training forms. Rachel works with clients to help display their transferable skills that can be utilised in other areas; in turn creating new pathways for individuals and direction to those who may not have thought this was achievable.

Rachel enjoys working with clients to develop personal tailored resumes, covering letters and Career pathway Plans. Rachel recognizes that each client is different and will have different needs to be catered for.

Rachel assists people in gaining knowledge, skills and behaviours to manage learning and work throughout a productive and engaging working life.



Kerryn Van Dyk

Career Development Practitioner

Kerryn commenced with RDA in June 2012 working in the Career Development Centre (CDC) located in Berri. Kerryn has a disability background having spent 11 years working in the Disability Employment Sector and brings with her the valued knowledge in career planning and customer servicing. Kerryn also has completed a Vocational Graduate Certificate in Career Development Practice. 

Kerryn’s role at the CDC is as a Career Practitioner and she is responsible for providing clients with knowledge to update and tailor their Resumes to suit employment opportunities, assisting them to become job ready, linking them with training opportunities, and generally working with clients to establish their career pathway.



Annette Thiel

Career Development Services, Project Manager Support

Annette is a qualified Career Practitioner and has undertaken Certificate IV in both Career Development and Project Management. 

Annette’s role at the Career Development Centre (CDC) – Riverland is that of Project Support.  The CDC is a Skills for Jobs in Regions project that commenced operation out of the Berri office in September 2010. Annette is responsible for administration within the centre, including file and data management and the smooth functioning of the centre. With an understanding of local industry, local employment services and local training providers, Annette successfully links clients with the appropriate services suitable to their requirements.

Annette has been employed at RDA since 2004, being here during the amalgamation of the Murraylands Regional Development Board and the Riverland Development Corporation (RDC) and had been with the RDC.



Janette Size

Career Development Practitioner

Janette is passionate about assisting individuals to find the right career or training pathway by helping them to discover their strengths, skills and passions.

Starting with RDAMR in August 2017 as a Career Development Practitioner, Janette has over 7 years’ experience in the Employment Services industry, including candidate assessment, providing resume advice and critiquing, staff appraisals, skills testing, HR consulting and delivering workshops.

Janette also has a CIV in Training and Assessment and an Associate Diploma in Accounting, having successfully run her own business for the last 20 years.

Her passion for job seekers and strong skill set makes her a valuable addition to the Career Development Centre team, and her passion for the region means she is keen to see you flourish in your chosen field.

Jeff Vasey

Career Development Practitioner

Jeff commenced with RDAMR in September 2017 working as a Career Development Practitioner in our Berri office. He has 14 years' experience within the employment service sector and has spent the past 12 years in training & education.

Jeff grew up in the Riverland before leaving for an extended period of time. He returned to the Riverland in 2008 where he has continued his passion of assisting others reach their individual and career goals. Jeff believes in helping people strive to achieve their personal and professional goals by using his experience and knowledge to enhance the skills and knowledge of his clients.

He assists clients to update their resumes, develop cover letters and address selection criteria for job applications. Jeff also delivers workshops tailored to meet the changing needs and skills required for clients so that they are able to be successful in obtaining sustainable employment.



Cathy Clemow

Brenton Lewis - Chief Executive

Career Development Practitioner

Cathy is a qualified Career Development Practitioner having undertaken a Certificate IV in Language Literacy and Numeracy, Training and Assessment and Career Development

Having chosen to re-enter the workforce in the late ’90’s, Cathy had a passion for education and having up-skilled, she moved quickly into the school sector. Positions included promotion and marketing, fundraising and development and Vocational Education and Training (VET). Starting in the Barossa region, Cathy then moved to Alice Springs, where she co-ordinated the VET Youth2Work programme working with five schools in the region, before taking on the position of Regional Industry Career Advisor, covering a huge region from the SA/NT border up to Katherine. Having returned to Mannum and gained additional skills, Cathy started with the CDC in the Murraylands office in December 2015.

Cathy has never moved very far from an industry that tries to encourage and motivate people to reach their potential.  With a love for the River and all that the Region has to offer, Cathy looks forward to working with dedicated RDA members that are focused on helping this wonder region reach its potential.